In his daily homily Pope Francis explained that it takes more than intellectual assent to truly get to know Jesus — we must also develop a personal relationship of joy through prayer and works. “Ideas by themselves do not lead anywhere and those who pursue the path of their own ideas end up in a labyrinth from where they can't get out again!” the Pope stated in his May 16 daily Mass. Addressing those present with him in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the Pope explained that getting to know Jesus is the most important work in our lives, and warned that just studying about him or having an idea is not enough. Noting how often times those who pursue their own ideas end up trapped in them, the pontiff pointed out that “It’s for this reason that heresies have existed from the very beginning of the Church.” “Heresies are this: trying to understand with our minds and with only our personal light who Jesus is,” he observed, adding that “A great English writer wrote that a heresy is an idea that’s gone crazy.” “That’s right! When they are ideas by themselves they become crazy…This is not the right path!” Going on, Pope Francis said that in order to really get to know Jesus there are three doors that we must open, naming the first as “praying to Jesus.” “You must realize that studying without prayers is no use. We must pray to Jesus to get to know him better” he noted, explaining that “the great theologians did their theology while kneeling.” “Pray to Jesus! By studying and praying we get a bit closer… But we’ll never know Jesus without praying. Never! Never!” Pope Francis went on to say that the second door we need to open is that of “celebrating Jesus,” because “Prayer on its own is not enough, we need the joy of celebration.” “We must celebrate Jesus through his Sacraments, because these give us life, they give us strength, they nourish us, they comfort us, they forge an alliance with us, they give us a mission,” the pontiff observed, adding that “Without celebrating the Sacraments, we’ll never get to know Jesus.” “This is what the Church is all about: celebration” he repeated, stating that “the third door is imitating Jesus. Take the Gospel, what did he do, how was his life, what did he tell us, what did he teach us and try to imitate him.” Entering these doors “means entering into the mystery of Jesus,” the Bishop of Rome continued, “and it’s only in this way that we can get to know him and we mustn’t be afraid to do this.” Bringing his reflections to a close, Pope Francis encouraged attendees to think “about how the door leading to prayer is proceeding in our life,” warning that “prayer from the heart is not like that of a parrot!” “How is prayer of the heart? How is the Christian celebration in my life proceeding? And how is the imitation of Jesus in my life proceeding? How must I imitate him?” he asked. “Do you really not remember!” the Pope chastised, explaining that “The reason is because the Book of the Gospel is full of dust as it’s never opened!” In opening the bible and reading it “you will discover how to imitate Jesus” the pontiff observed, so “Let’s think about how these three doors are positioned in our life and this will be of benefit to everybody.” Following Mass Pope Francis canceled his morning meetings and appointments due to having a minor cold, but is expected to be present for all of his engagements over the weekend with the exception of his visit to a Roman shrine, which was postponed so that he can prepare for his upcoming pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
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